O'Loughlin: There's so much at stake
Sean O'Loughlin has warned his troops to expect the best of Salford tomorrow.
The skipper knows more than most the significance of the Challenge Cup semi-final, having felt the high of winning and the impact of defeat.
O’Loughlin is aiming for a fourth Challenge Cup final appearance this year, and third as captain, but says the Red Devils will bring their A-game to the HJ Stadium.
“We’ll be expecting the best Salford side - their best performance,” he said.
“They’ll be pumped for the game as much as we will.
“For us it’s just playing our best rugby.”
O’Loughlin felt the pain of defeat in last year’s semi-final against Hull FC, and admits they are among the hardest losses to bear.
“You lose any semi-final and they are tough to take. You feel like you’ve let yourself down,” he warned.
“I know getting to a final and losing is the same but when you’ve got a final you have the occasion.
“I think with a semi-final when there is so much at stake and you don’t come away with anything they are really tough losses to take.”
The captain admits Wigan’s form has stuttered this season, but with a Grand Final win last year and a World Club Challenge success in February, O’Loughlin is confident his players will be celebrating tomorrow evening.
“We’ve been a bit up and down this season but we know how to win big games and if we can get together and get that performance this week we have enough to win the game,” he said.
“The Challenge Cup comes with a different atmosphere but my role will be making sure everyone is as focused as I need to be.”